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Total 2020 Airline Revenue Drops Almost 50 Percent



Total revenue from all U.S. airlines fell almost 50 percent in 2020 compared to the year before, a dramatic decrease caused by the massive fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

According to data presented by, the total operating revenue of all domestic airlines in 2019 was $248 billion. That dropped to $130 billion in 2020, a 47 percent year-over-year decrease. At one point last year, flying capacity on all U.S. carriers dropped to just five percent. Even a year later the aviation industry still isn’t back to normal and is off about 40 percent.

The 2020 figure was also the lowest recorded within the reporting period of 2004-2020.

Airlines from the U.S. collectively registered a net loss of $24.6 billion in 2020, a 256 percent decrease from 2019 when US airlines registered a combined net profit of $15.71 billion.

2020’s net loss was an even greater contraction than the one felt during the recession of 2008 when net loss was at $18.17 billion.

All totaled, domestic carriers handled 60 percent fewer passengers last year compared to 2019. In 2019, U.S. airlines handed an estimated 926 million passengers, made up of 811 million domestic passengers and an estimated 115 million international passengers. In 2020? A stark difference, as the total number of passengers dropped by over 60 percent to just 369 million.

Rex Pascual, editor at, said, “The airline industry was crippled by the pandemic despite the strong momentum that has been built over the last few years. More than a year after the virus took the global economy hostage, much uncertainty still remains about what the ‘new normal’ will look like and what it means for the future of air travel.”

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